COLUMBIA, S.C. – Sophomore Marshawn Powell scored a career high 21 points on Wednesday night, but it would not be enough to carry the Razorback men’s basketball team to victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks, dropping their second conference game of the season, 81-74 in overtime.
The Razorbacks (12-5, 2-2), who battled the entire game to take a late second half lead, were forced into overtime after a couple of big South Carolina (12-5, 3-1) shots in the final minutes and then struggled to find an offense in the extra period.
“We’re certainly disappointed and I hurt for those guys,” said Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey. “I thought we played better and fought hard, but we had some costly turnovers. We defended we tonight, but we need to rebound better.”
After being down five to start the second half, the Hogs seemed to not give South Carolina much hope for success as they would work quickly to tie the game on a Jeff Peterson three-pointer and then take their first lead of the game on a huge Julysses Nobles dunk, making it 41-39 with just under 17 minutes to play.
The Gamecocks would turn that score around and take the small lead back, but Arkansas would then go on the biggest run of the night. The Razorbacks would go on an 11-0 run for nearly three minutes and take a 10-point, 57-47 lead with 10:41 left to play. Seven of those points would come from the hands of sophomore Julysses Nobles. The Jackson, Miss. native would explode in the second half to score 12 points after going scoreless in the first half.
For the remainder of regulation, the Hogs would cling to their lead and still hold it with under three minutes to play, but Ramon Galloway would strike once again with another three-pointer to put the Gamecocks down two and then Malik Cooke would knock down two foul shots to send the game into overtime.
The Razorbacks, who already played two overtime games earlier this season, did not fare much better the third time around as they continued to struggle offensively in the extra period. South Carolina would score the first six points out of regulation and never look back, forcing the Hogs to miss their first three shots in the extra five minutes. Arkansas, for the game would shoot very efficiently from the field at an even 49 percent, but would allow the Gamecocks to win the rebounding battle, 41-36, with 19 coming on the offensive side. Those offensive boards would allow South Carolina to score 18 second chance points in the game.
The first half wasn’t the quickest of starts for either team as only nine points were scored altogether through the first five minutes of play, but Powell would score the first seven points for Arkansas. Powell, single-handedly kept the Razorbacks within striking distance of the Gamecocks for nearly the entire half as he went on to score 15 of the Hogs’ 30 first half points.
Even though Arkansas would never take the lead or tie the game in the first half, the Hogs would never trail by more than eight during the entire first 20 minutes. A big reason behind the close game would be the Razorbacks ability to get to the free throw line. As a team, Arkansas would go 9-12 from the charity stripe.
A see-saw battle would be the trending theme in the opening half as each team would go on various mini-runs to never take control of the game. The closest the Razorbacks would get is a one-point deficit after a Rotnei Clarke three-pointer to make it 17-18 with 9:56 to play. That shot from Clarke would be the only field goal of the night for him. Unfortunately, Galloway would score nine of his 11 first half points soon after that to help the Gamecocks take a 35-30 lead into the locker room.
After struggling to shoot from the floor in the last few games, Arkansas shot over 41 percent from the field at 10-for-24, but was only 1-for-5 from behind the three-point line. Powell would lead all scorers in the first half with his 15 points, while senior Delvon Johnson followed up with seven points and two blocks.
The men’s basketball team will remain on the road for their next conference matchup against Florida on Saturday, Jan. 22 with the tip scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net. For all information regarding the Razorback men’s basketball team, log on to ArkansasRazorbacks.com.